Back in September 2009, we reviewed Corsair’s H50 all-in-one liquid cooler and awarded it a 9 verdict and a Kick Ass award for its cooling prowess, which put it roughly on par with our then-champion air cooler, the Thermalright U-120 Extreme. But times change and the competition eventually caught up. Corsair apparently hasn’t been asleep, though. The company’s new H70 ups the ante in all-in-one liquid coolers.
The Corsair H70, like the H50 before it, was designed in conjunction with Asetek, the all-in-one liquid-cooling OEM. For the H70, the team nearly doubled the thickness of the 12cm radiator, added a second 12cm fan for the coveted push/pull airflow, and slimmed down the pump/heat-exchange unit that rests on the CPU. The H70 also shipped with a pair of voltage-regulator cables, one for each fan, in an effort to reduce noise. Like others of its ilk, the H70’s fans and radiator mount in place of your case’s 12cm rear exhaust fan, although Corsair recommends you mount the H70’s fans as exhaust rather than intake (as with the H50).
We’ve seen a few USB 3.0 external drives here at Maximum PC, and we do appreciate the long-overdue speed boost. It’s nice to have file transfers limited by drive speed again, rather than the interface—the 33MB/s maximum was killing us. And while we appreciated the boost we got from USB 3.0 in WD’s My Book 3.0 and the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed enclosure, the former was only as fast as the mechanical drive within it and the latter couldn’t even match the speeds of the drives it enclosed.
It’s great to have a USB 3.0 interface on a mechanical drive, but wouldn’t it be nice to combine USB 3.0 with SSD? With a theoretical bandwidth limit exceeding 5Gb/s, why wouldn’t you? Thankfully, OCZ did. The Enyo is a compact anodized aluminum brick stuffed with MLC NAND and a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port.
It’s about damn time. 6Gb/s SATA is old news now. It’s been half a year since we saw the first 6Gb/s SATA–enabled hard drive, and it was a frickin’ mechanical drive. Talk about unnecessary. Solid state drives, on the other hand, have been bumping at the ceiling of 3Gb/s SATA’s available bandwidth for a while now. So why not slap a 6Gb/s SATA controller on a solid state drive? Duh. Crucial, apparently alone among flash memory vendors, heard the call. Thus, the Crucial C300, a 6Gb/s SATA–enabled SSD that comes in 128GB and 256GB flavors.
But does the C300 actually benefit from a 6Gb/s SATA connection? Yes and no. In sequential read tests, it blows every other drive out of the water, with a maximum sequential read speed of 317MB/s and an average read of over 300MB/s! That’s more than 50 percent faster than the SandForce-based drives, like OCZ’s Vertex 2, that comprise our favorite SSDs and typically top out at around 200MB/s read speeds. On a standard 3Gb/s connection, the C300’s read speeds were a still-impressive 222MB/s—about the same as a Barefoot Indilinx-based drive, like the Patriot Torqx or Corsair Nova.
In an ebook reader market that’s rapidly approaching the saturation point, a device needs to have a certain set of features to stand out from the crowd. The Alex eReader, a new ebook reader from Spring Design, has enough of them to make it an intriguing new product, and a fun one to try out, but not enough of them to warrant a buy recommendation.
First, the design of the Alex eReader is second to none. While it shares a general architecture with the Nook (an e-ink screen up top and a smaller, Android-powered, full-color touch screen below), the Alex is both better looking and more functional. At approximately 4.5x9 inches, it’s longer than the Nook, but feels surprisingly sturdy, and is easy to balance while you read. The longer design leaves room for a larger color display down below, although the e-ink display is somewhat smaller than the Kindle’s. Beauty is subjective, of course, but it’s hard to argue that the Alex eReader isn’t a fine-looking piece of hardware.
Is “business netbook” a misnomer? Aren’t business notebooks supposed to be both portable and powerful, while emitting a confident and businesslike aura? Can a netbook ever be enough for a business user? HP is one of the few companies out there betting that a netbook can be appealing to a business audience.
The HP Mini 5102 certainly looks businesslike. Its squared-off, all-metal chassis, matte-black magnesium alloy base, and brushed-aluminum lid exude a much more professional vibe than most netbooks, including HP’s own consumer line. And though its base configuration hews close to the standard netbook build of this generation, HP offers a wide array of options that can turn the 5102 into something else entirely.
Our first experience with Ultra Wide Band technology left us decidedly unimpressed. Gefen’s UWB-based Wireless USB Hub was both overpriced and uninspiring (who wants to pay $400 for a limited-range USB hub?).
Fortunately, we’re feeling more encouraged about UWB’s prospects after spending time with Warpia’s poorly named but pleasant-to-use Wireless USB PC-to-TV Audio/Video Display Adapter. The, umm, Wireless USB AV adapter is simple to install. Just plug one end into a USB port on your PC, and the other end into your TV via HDMI. (The unit has VGA and 3.5mm analog ports, as well.)
In the raging battle between AMD and Nvidia over DirectX 11 supremacy, AMD has had a decided edge in price/performance ratios, if not raw performance. Now, Nvidia aims to rectify that with the GTX 465.
Like the GTX 470 (and even the GTX 480, for that matter), the GTX 465 uses the same Fermi chip, with key functional units disabled. This may be by choice or because of yield issues, given the massive size of Nvidia’s latest progeny. Whatever the case, it allows Nvidia to bring a card to market that’s generally priced just a little less than AMD’s sweet-spot card, the Radeon HD 5850. We’ve seen prices for the PNY card at around $280, as opposed to an average price ranging from $290 to $300 for the HD 5850.
We got the first hints that Seagate was planning a hybrid hard drive when, in response to an offhand question last year, company reps replied with “no comment,” instead of saying “hybrid drives are deeeaaaad!” as we expected. Our suspicions were confirmed when we got our hands on the Momentus XT, a 500GB 7,200rpm notebook drive with 4GB of SLC NAND flash memory and an “Adaptive Memory” algorithm designed to speed up your system by copying the most frequently accessed files to the NAND flash.
By adding a small amount of high-speed flash memory to a standard mechanical drive, Seagate hopes to hit the middle-ground between solid-state speed and mechanical price and capacity. Under the hood, the Momentus XT is virtually identical to the non-hybrid 500GB Momentus 7200.4, with three key additions: a 32MB DRAM cache instead of 16MB, 4GB of SLC NAND, and the Seagate Adaptive Memory algorithm to make sense of it all.
Veteran gaming-PC company iBuypower is offering the first multitouch gaming laptop, along with a workaround for the complete dearth of multitouch games.
The 15.6-inch MT20X features a capacitive screen with glass overlay to take full advantage of Win7’s multitouch support. All the neat features we’ve come to associate with multitouch—finger-based dragging, scrolling, zooming, rotating—are performed with smoothness and precision on the MT20X’s screen. But neat as this is, it felt a bit unnatural to use on a conventional laptop. For instance, we resented that the trackpad’s lack of a scroll feature forced us to move our fingers from the keyboard to the screen to scroll through web pages and documents.
Let’s say someone’s just given you a jack-in-the-box. He then motions for you to crank the handle, so you give it a whirl. Round and round it goes until—boom—out comes a platter with the world’s most delicious cake on it. Awesome! Before long, you want more cake, so you crank the handle again—only this time, a fist rockets out and punches you right in your cakehole. You try again. Another fist. Again. Fist. But then, finally, cake.
That’s Alpha Protocol in a nutshell. More often than not, the game rewards your efforts with a frustrating menagerie of awful design choices and glitch-ridden combat. But every once in a while, everything comes together, and you get a tiny, shimmering glimpse of what it might feel like to actually be James Bond or Jason Bourne.